Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vispera de Santos...

Yet again I am not going to the Hallowe'en Parade in the Village. Because I simply have too much work to do.

That's not great.

Still, I have written my introduction to my Note. How much more time should it take me? I'm thinking a couple of hours... hahahahhahahahhahahahhahaha (maniacal laugh a la Vincent Price in Thriller - I'm au courant, oh yes).

Yet again, I yield to the work monster.


I am also eating like a pig. The idea was to eat like a pig on Tuesdays, alone, as a treat/no guilt sort of day. Sadly, that appears to be spilling over into my other days.




Sunday, October 29, 2006

...then three come along at once...

Yesterday was somewhat of a cultural day. Unusual, for me, I know, but thought I would share the things done/seen/said to show that am not complete neanderthal. Sorry, metro geico neanderthals.

We saw The Prestige, continuing the fine run of Christopher Nolan films... God, he's only 36, apparently, and he's made some seriously, seriously good films. It was strange, in that none of the lead characters was particularly appealing or sympathetic and yet, and yet... Christian Bale was fabulous, Hugh Jackman also good and Scarlett sported a surprisingly realistic and good London accent AND was not too showy or dopey, but just right. It was impressive. David Bowie's turn also very good fun, as acknowledged here (in an article about how he's usually boswellox in films but the author simply does not care). It's not going to mess with your head and haunt you as Memento still does, but as a blockbuster it was intelligent, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. Recommended!

We also saw two art thangs - the Hopper and Picasso's influence on Americans at the Whitney, and the opening of Draw at the Fuse Gallery. Of the former, it was interesting. I thought, as always, how ridiculously evocative the Hoppers are; I don't know if it is because I've got them embodied in my subconsciousness, but whenever I am on a trip in the countryside here, it just looks like Hopper, as the French south so often looks like Cezanne. It's bizarre, but true. They are like photos from afar, but I prefer the Hopper paintings up close, with the smudgy brush strokes, the roughness visible.

As for the Picasso, it was a crowded, badly hung exhibition, in my opinion. However, it was extraordinary to see the range of styles and different artists so distinctly influenced by the great man. He was clearly a freak, a one-off. My favourites were definitely the Roy Lichtensteins, which somehow did a great deal with the Picasso-style... However, there were a couple of rip-offs of Les Demoiselles D'Avignon which were, frankly, terrifying - Man Ray and Max Weber just pinching the exact format and making the women a bit more blurred or overtly sexual, if that's possible. What I find about Picasso is that the man was extraordinarily well-grounded in classical art - apparently the postures for Les Demoiselles came from El Greco's painting of the Apocalypse, which is amusing given that he used that for brothel workers. His painting Masacre en Corea is based on Manet's Execution of Emperor Maximilian, which is in turn based on the Goya painting of the 1808 uprisings against the French. Yet, somehow, these references are just those - references that twist into something else. Maybe the closest thing is Las Meninas... I dunno. I realise I don't actually really know anything about art. I'm just making this up as I go along.

Draw - well, Maria Nielsen's piece was bar none the most beautiful thing there. Nuff said. But interesting, plus free beeeeer! It was really interesting - hers was so beautiful, and finished, whereas others just submitted pieces of paper. And maybe that was the point. I think that one of the reason I don't go out on a limb with art and I don't find modern art easy is the suspicion that I'm just not getting it, and it's all a bit above me and there exists some hidden joke that I'm just too stupid to get. Rightly or wrongly, I don't get that with old-school painting...

Flowing, by Maria Nielsen

Friday, October 27, 2006

All Souls...

This time of year is always slightly strange to me in the U.S., because everyone is utterly obsessed with that most godly of festivals, Hallowe'en. When I was a Guide, we weren't allowed to celebrate it at Guides because it was the work of the devil. But then, they thought that about Carnival too. And I left sharpish after that.

Nonetheless, my point is that this time of year, for most Englishfolk, is about celebrating the time we caught those evil folks, led by one Mr. Guy Fawkes, attempting to blow up the wonderful democratic institution that is our Houses of Parliament. Or, to see it from another point of view, it's the time where we in fact gloss over the fact that the fiesta is about hanging, drawing and quartering Catholics who may or may not have been stooges to cause the utter suppression, politically and legally, of Catholics within the country. Ahem.

Still, as we've decided to ignore that, and the majority of Yanks also acknowledge the dodgy beginnings and roots of Thanksgiving/Columbus Day (except in South Dakota) and still manage to have a jolly good time, I'm not going to be ashamed of the fact that this time of year is when I am most homesick. The smell of damp wood roaring away in a ginormous fire, carrying whisky in one's pocket in order to keep warm whilst you watch the glorious explosions of dynamite and metal oxides, eating disgusting amounts of candy floss and so on and then nearly vomming it up whilst on the whirling rotating eggs held together by what appears to be string... It's by far the best time of year. Which is why I got very confused when our Corporations professor referred to the seasonality of the fireworks business and how obviously June/July always looked better on the balance sheet. I didn't get it, honestly, for a good few minutes, and then it clicked into place. Because it's such a basic, integral part of my childhood and culture.

Nonetheless, I am trying to get into the H spirit (and yes, that's Hallowe'en, not heroin) this year, and so KTB and I were thinking of going everywhere dressed like Rainbow Brite for the next few days. The Other Half is grumbling about it, but tough, matey, this year we're going native. And therefore, in anticipation, I am trying to come up with a (slightly less obvious) playlist related to the big H with music that I actually already have on my iTunes...

1) Haunted By You - Gene
2) Kilo - Ghostface Killah
3) Witches' Rave - Jeff Buckley
4) Pumpkin - Tricky
5) Monster Hospital (mstrkrft remix) - Metric
6) The Boogie Monster - Gnarls Barkley (had to be done)
7) Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - David Bowie
8) Things I've Seen - Spooks
9) Invisible Man - The Breeders
10) Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong, But... - Arctic Monkeys

Grand. All other suggestions appreciated... Plus I couldn't let this go without some sort of rant...

Target will allow its pharmacists to refuse to fill contraception. Women are, unsurprisingly, annoyed at this - and where next, as someone pointed out - refusing to give people ARVs because HIV/AIDS may have been caught from "immoral" behaviour?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. That is genuinely frightening.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And I'm Back In The Game...

...or, more to the point, grumble grace is back. After having to be loveydovey with the world, I have made the decision to be grumpy again. Well, actually, I didn't make that decision, but was forced into it by the evils of the world. Well, not evils. But stuff that needs to be grumped about.

First, Rush Limbaugh - unsurprisingly - is an arse. Furthermore, so is Jim Caviezel and the wife from Everyone-Loves-Raymond-Oh-Really?-I-Couldn't-Give-A-Rat's-Arse-about-this-very-stupid-tv-programme. Essentially, Michael J. Fox - or "shaky daddy" as his kids call him, according to KTB who read his autobiography - is on an ad for a Congressman advocating stem cell research. And Rush Limbaugh has accused him of "faking" his condition in order to get sympathy for the ad. Nice. Nice.

Second, this was a v interesting thing sent to me by Banana. Shows that the British are not the only ones to have issues dealing with the niqab. I'm not getting into the British debate here, because it's way too complicated and I'm not certain what I think. But I do think that sensitivity may have been employed by this judge who refused to continue a woman's lawsuit because she wouldn't lift her niqab.

Enough grumbling. Enjoy some kittens!!!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


81. The random collection of people making use of Riverbank Park - the old ladies chatting, the women slowly walking around wearing plastic bags to sweat more (no, I'm not joking), the highly kitted out guys who run at about 0.0001mph faster than walking speed, the strange people doing strange callasthenics, stretching and punching movements, the hard hard hard old guy doing press ups with his feet on a step 3ft up, hands on normal ground (seriously, that was impressive), and the incredibly athletic blokes playing a game of American Football. And us. Oh, and the old geezer who was very happy that we did ten laps (2.5miles) today. I was, too - 17.50 for two miles is not bad for me right now.
82. Having a red coat - which, thanks to my dear Mum and Wallis, I will have very very very very soon. Well, at Christmas.

83. The thought of the Velázquez exhibition at home this Christmas, and the upcoming Spanish exhibition at the Guggenheim - El Greco, here we come! Plus a fab looking display of "modern masters" at the Sainsbury Wing... I cannot cannot wait. I am, occasionally, cultured.
84. The names Alge Crumpler, Plaxico Burress and D'Brickashaw Ferguson - I love, love, love NFL.
85. Having a favatar. Even that name. Rocking.
86. Free drinks. Sorry, but it's true. Law Review Rocks.
87. Proper Cows. And anything with proper cows on them.

88. Saying "Hey Joe" to everyone I know called Joe and never ceasing to find it amusing.
89. Lily Allen's comments about the Pussycat Dolls - thank goodness it's not just me.
They're too skinny, takes all their clothes off, don't say anything, promote womanizing and look like lapdancers as far as I’m concerned. It's a really bad message to be sending young women. And not just for young women - but for young men. For them to believe that that’s what women are like in real life in such a hideous concept to sell to people. It's just terrible.

Plus the Peaches Geldof gem:
I would kick her over then kick her even harder when she was down... I would probably like, stamp on my can of Magners and then stab her in the ear. She (Peaches) did this documentary about Islam and it was really awful … What do you know about Islam you useless oaf?

90. Multiply by Jamie Lidell. There is nothing better to lift your mood. Same goes for anything by Stevie Wonder.
91. Gawker's Hall of Fame for those who are not blessed with social skills...

93. Pumpkins!

94. The Natural History Museum in London.
95. Central Park. And knowing why the leaves change colour. Science in action!

96. St. Pancras station.
97. Being a Prendergast Girl.

98. Hot water bottles.
99. Scallion pancakes from China Place.
100. That the internet exists to entertain all my self-indulgence and write entirely about myself. Huzzah!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


61. Having things I've heard be published on overheard in new york (me being pumpkin).
62. Catching up on people's blogs when I haven't had the chance to read them for ages and noting JUST how much they sound like those fabulous friends of mine.
63. Beryl.

Oh, Beryl. I have failed you.
64. Woman's Hour Podcasts
65. Using my kitchenaid to grate apple to put in my instant porridge...
66. Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
67. Dandelion fountains!

68. My pretty pretty pretty phone.
69. A cold beer after a horrible horrible day...
70. Syndication of Scrubs - which means, essentially, it's on TWICE A DAY on comedy central AND twice a day on Fox.
71. The "secret" tunnel between 66th street and opposite the law school - excellent rain avoidance tool.
72. 66th Street station on the 1... it's so so so beautiful.

73. Having a papasan...
74. The TWoP reviews of the final seasons of Dawson's Creek...
75. The way that young folks think that bands like slipknot and staind are subversive and meaningful - the earnest soul wrenching goes on, generation to generation... sweet. And that they still write in tippex on their bags and wear DMs.
76. Jamie Bufalino's column in Timeout.
77. Playing spot the background extras on Scrubs - Snoop Dog Intern, Colonel Doctor, Doctor Mickhead, beard-faced Doctor - drinking game in the making, that...
78. Remembering that six months when my brother and I refused to get in or out of the car unless it was through the windows.
79. My pretty pretty pretty Brazilian placemats that I got from my lovely lovely friends for my 21st (although the fact that birthday was so many years ago is less smiley-happy-place).

80. The fact that my magic cookie bars sold out before ANYONE ELSE'S BAKED GOODS at our bake sale - and that we made $130 to send to Marie Stopes for safe birthing kits...

Sunday, October 15, 2006


41. The feeling of wearing fat face warm socks with my slippers - toasty!
42. Baking
43. When neighbours become good friends... (they should be there for one another)
44. House's comments to Chase on his floppy hair
45. Wedges - height with comfort - genius!!!!
46. Roast potatoes
47. Radar's ten dumbest congressmen. So, admittedly, the dumb ones being voted in time and again doesn't make me smile and think all is right with the world. But that people keep track of them and actually ARE trying to make them accountable makes it a little more bearable...
48. The Chrysler Building

49. Mashed potato
50. What Not To Wear - the British version, obviously. Trinny & Susannah are phenomenal.

51. The smell of strawberries
52. My purple glasses.
53. The Guardian football weekly podcast with my favourite sport broadcaster, Mr James Richardson. Urbane is the word...
54. Alistair Appleton. The true hero of both Cash in the Attic and House Doctor.

55. Dad's tales of Freddie the Factory cat
56. The oddly shaped squashes sitting on top of my tv.

57. Tivo. It's genius.
58. The words "Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville, and welcome to Jackass."
59. Stripey socks.
60. Soupey Twist. Soupey Twist.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Numbers 20-40

21. Mince Pies.
22. Scrubs
23. Eddie Izzard doing an impression of Italians... Ciao...
24. A Little Respect by Erasure
25. Having my hair washed by Jack at Hoshi Coupe.
26. The metrosexual cavemen on the Geico adverts
27. The Little Richard Geico advert
28. The Jungle Brothers. Particularly the Fatboy Slim remix of "Because I Got It Like That" and "Girl, I'll House You" - how genius are they? Phenomenal
29. My turquoise shoes from Poste Mistress...
30. My fabulous shower curtain from BBB.

31. The smell of michael kors perfume.
32. My new "The Navy Made Me Gay" badge.
33. Making snow angels.

34. The Old Jokes Home on popbitch.
35. My secret (less so now, obviously) passion for INXS and Will Young. Oops.
36. Jon Stewart's impression of George Bush. Hehehehe.
37. My cousins attacking other cousins.

38. Cheese & chilli-filled pretzels from outside the Met.
39. Christopher Eccleston's ears.
40. Velázquez's portrait of Juan de Pareja.

The Century is UP!!!!

I was going to write a griping thing about those things that are currently annoying me, but I can't do that for the 100th edition! That would be crazy and not a fitting celebration of all things gracegoesabroad. Although, some of you may be thinking to yourselves, actually, what would be more apt than moaning on missygp's part? That's all she uses the blog for.

So, instead, I am going to come up with 100 things that make me happy and smile and think all is right with the world. This may be staggered over some days... here are the first twenty.

1. My mum.
2. My other half

3. The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
4. "Smile" by Lily Allen
5. The English & Welsh Cricket Team currently holding the Ashes.
6. Andrew Flintoff

7. The view coming over the River in London on the way to Charing Cross via train
8. The GW Bridge

9. Jeeves & Wooster
10. Carlos Beltrán hitting his sixth post-season homer against the Cardinals
11. Tigers!
12. Kitten War!
13. Pumpkin cheesecake from Junior's
14. Beers at the NFT & NT in summer - in fact, the South Bank in general
15. The smell of pavements after a thunderstorm
16. My coffee maker
17. Fireworks

18. Being able to swear in Spanish
19. $4 lychee martinis at Verlaine
20. Carnival

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Not in these shoes

I am always impressed by my lack of sympathy when someone else's life pressures interfere with what I want. Hence my general rage at my friends' lack of blogging just because their lives are, you know, busy. I don't understand how you can't find twenty minutes of procrastination time in the day. That's just silly. Like those people who claim they're too busy to have twenty minutes to make a salad, or exercise... but that is, of course, me. oops. Understanding hat on.

I have, however, just spent a truly glorious two hours arranging my papers for my Note and my class papers. Now, if I could just do some work, that'd be grand.

Cocteles - ya vengo!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The One Who Walks In The Sun

Over the years, I have missed out on several fun occasions due to work things, and utterly far too frequently for my liking since joining law school. The top ones missed out on have been:

1) The Pharcyde - ok, so this was MA year, but so what? Thanks, character that makes me utterly innately incapable of doing anything for an essay until the night before.

2) 2ManyDJs - aaaaaaargh. Damn you note topic proposal!

3) Lily Allen - last night footnoting intervened. AAAARGH.

4) Screening of film on AIDS & Ethiopia and a woman's fight against feminization of HIV/AIDS. What was I doing? Footnoting.

5) Ok, I can't think of a five right now. But I will do.

Anyhoo, my point is that tonight, the rain is threatening to interfere with more fun that I had planned to not let law school ruin. SUNDANCE. EVERYONE. NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Monday, October 09, 2006

edgy and dull

Note to self: When making soup, allow to cool before serving. This then prevents tongue burning, which is deeply painful and, worse than the hurt, utterly preventable and moronic.

Still, onion soup = super yum.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


The Mets are, despite the absence of El Duque and Pedro, in the NLCS starting on Wednesday.

The Yankees are not in the ALCS.


There may be other, more imoprtant things taking place in the world. I am declining to think of those right now.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A New Hope

My second cousin was born earlier today, a healthy 6.5lb boy. No name as of yet. But very exciting, and reminded me that I can never work out how you'd be once removed or how you're a second cousin. Aha, I was mistaken. Apparently, according to this very useful (if still somewhat confusing) article on genealogy.com, the little ball of joy will be my first cousin, once removed, because my grandparents would have been his great-grandparents. There you go. The "removed" bit is to indicate a difference in generation. Second cousins are those with the same great-grandparents. Blimey. Congratulations, anyway, to the happy parents - I now have three once-removed-first-cousins. So the giant family grows some more!

Also good, as it counteracts the news that my cat has lost half her tail. The other new addition to our family is a guinea pig named Darren. As you do.

So here, on that familial theme, is a photo of my gorgeous first cousins. Not removed, just young.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This Week In Short

My endlessly amusing (or, in fact, often incredibly depressing) look at the world around us for the first week in October brings me to the following:

1) Yet another observation that the more titles like "people", "democratic" and "republic" you have in your nation's name, the more likely it is that you have a crazy dictatorship on your hands. Case in point: Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or North Korea as the rest of us know it. Am currently reading the Human Rights Commission (now disbanded due to complete inefficacy, particularly on Darfur and Uzbekistan) report from 2001. Report from DPROK only a mere fourteen years late. There is a part of the criminal code which allows for punishment of offences not included in the criminal code - GENIUS!


2) Although this is very scary indeed - how much information they have about us... it's crazy.

3) Russians are ingenious.

4) The joke in popbitch today made my day. It's the Bono one, by the way, which hasn't been updated, as of time of publishing.

5) I still feel a sense of pride that my alma mater is a rather good place... but I don't get the American idea that Oxford is better than Cambridge, given that every bloody survey of this thing and rankings for the last umpteen years has stated, rather clearly, that the light side beats the dark side. But the US folks are convinced. Wrong, but convinced.

6) Buy a TOTALLY AWESOME T-shirt!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Break up the sun there's nothing better left

Yes indeed, Days Like This Are Sweet.

The sun is SHINING, and I have tickets to the first game of the National League Championship Series, if the mets makes it!!!!!! So, lads, you'd better do me proud and get there. OR ELSE. WHOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEE.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I've been rumbled, I've been sold

Oh, the joys of nostalgia - finding a ten year old album of wannabe-Smiths-foppish types is available - an album that used to curdle your soul and make you feel the passion, the pain, oh yes. It's hard to be Left-Handed, you know.

I've been listening to very little else other than Sleep Well Tonight, which is cheesy, yes, but my god I loved it. I also loved getting it mixed up, when trying to find it online, with a song of the same title by the guy from Busted's band. Oops.

Which reminds me of a great playlist I put together of songs I, inadvertently, happened to have two versions of on the old itunes - the cover and original (or older cover, in some cases). I know I said I would keep this rubbish for myspace, but, quite frankly, it seems ridiculous to compartmentalize (and using a "z" there because it's a ridiculously American word/theme/idea, my British friends) such important parts of my life i.e. talking about myself (this blog) and my musical passions. My particular favourites are:

1) Night And Day - Fred Astaire/Ella Fitzgerald/Sondre Lerche
2) Billie (or Billy) Jean - Michael Jackson and Shinehead
3) Black Steel [in the Hour of Chaos] - Public Enemy and Tricky
4) Across the Universe - the beatles and Rufus Wainwright
5) I Idolize You - Tina & Ike Turner and Purple Wizard - particularly love the latter as they remove all the very dodgy submissive misogynistic crap that Ike somehow persuaded Tina to sing...
6) Float On - Ben Lee (weedy, it's true, but sweet) and Modest Mouse
7) Bills Bills Bills - Destiny's Child AND the GENIUS Beelzebub
8) Can you count having the sample and the cover? If so, I'm going for Can It All Be So Simple? by the Wu-Tang Clan and Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill (although of course the Wu-Tang, in turn, sampled Gladys Knight).
9) The Greatest (TM) Cover Version of All Time (1): Heard it Through the Grapevine - Gladys Knight & Marvin Gaye. Yes, indeedy, it wasn't his version first.
10) The Greatest (TM) Cover Version of All Time (2): All Along The Watchtower - Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. As said in the Guardian, genuinely good cover versions are "a form of theft - Jimi Hendrix stole All Along The Watchtower from Bob Dylan and never gave it back".

And the reason for the gloomy, rain-stricken scene of a boat crossing the Panamá Canal is because I am gloomy over my lack of control, still, over my life. Still, that will lift due to both the win of Spurs sinking in, and the start of the MLB post-season, and, of course, because I am going to see the third (formerly first) most-watched movie in the U.S. tonight - embracing the zeitgeist, it's Jackass: Number Two for me. To balance this out, I am reading Nabokov, and then shall read Sebald. Yes indeedy.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

When the Grass is Jewelled

Someone somewhere has authorised the weather to get cold. I don't know who, but I'm annoyed about it. But, then, it is now October. It is very strange, however, to realise that all of a sudden I'm going to have to wear outerwear again and socks/slippers indoors until the heating comes on, and even so, then they might be necessary. Coats, scarves, tights, gloves: all will have to come out of hiding. Yikes, I'll have to wash my thermals.

This is the distressing thing about winter in NYC - the knowledge that, basically, once it starts getting cold, that's it until about April. I find the lack of blossom and leaves on the trees until then upsetting, that it's so bleak. Yet, there is something exciting about the preparation: getting the gloves and scarves out, buying winter coats, gloves, a new hat here or there. Plus, what the winter months will bring in order to keep warm - hot apple cider, cherry and cream cheese strudels at Hungarian Pastry, Sunday nights huddling in watching American Football games where the players on the line of scrimmage look like dragons, breathing smoke, hearty soups made from all the root vegetables that we get in our vegetable box... and that joy of the first snow before it turns to dirty slush, and the elation that comes from that sunny, sunny day with the bluest sky in February. M is a huge fan of the change of seasons, and his excitement is infectious, for all my grumbling about the cold. I just wish I had better circulation. I'll have to start eating the raw garlic again.